Chesney's "Victorian Underworld" -- the secret Victorian underbelly of cyberpunk

After reading yesterday's post about the role that Henry Mayhew's London Labour and the London Poor played in the birth of steampunk, William Gibson wrote in to add,
I've never actually read Mayhew, but feel I've long had him, through brilliant osmosis, with Kellow Chesney's Victorian Underworld, which is easily one of my favorite books ever. People assume, when I tell them that, that Chesney would mainly have influenced The Difference Engine, but actually this was very consciously the basis of the criminal society of Neuromancer, et al. It was a Victorian model, as I saw what's since come to be called neoconservatism producing a neo-Victorian world. Not a bad call, either!

I literally had The Victorian Underworld on my desk constantly, throughout the writing of Neuromancer, and for years after.

Victorian Underworld (Thanks, Bill!)

(Image: The Victorian Underworld from rauter25's photostream)

Loading...